Justice Markandey Katju: Arvind Kejriwal, the Natwarlal of Delhi

Justice Markandey Katju

By Justice Markandey Katju–

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

Arvind Kejriwal joined social worker Anna Hazare‘s movement for integrity in public life in 2012, and became Chief Minister of Delhi in 2013, riding piggyback on the movement. Since there was massive corruption in public life in India, people were fed up of it, and were looking for a redeemer, who would end this nefarious practice that had spread its tentacles all over the country.

Therefore, they supported the Aam Admi Party (AAP), which Kejriwal and some others had created as an organization standing up for honesty in public life, with great gusto and enthusiasm. A large number of people, including many NRIs, contributed funds to the party.

In the 2015 Delhi assembly elections, this fledgling party, with Kejriwal as its leader, won a resounding victory, claiming 67 of the 70 seats, decimating the two major political parties, Congress and BJP. AAP struck a chord among all sections of the masses with its message of a moral political order based on the sovereignty of the people and devolution of powers to the grassroots.

However, Kejriwal, as chief minister of Delhi, revealed his true colors soon thereafter. He realized that the anti-corruption movement had run its course, and he must now take recourse to ‘realpolitik’ i.e. practical politics divorced from any ethics or principles.

Among the first things he did was to throw out from the party any prospective rivals or competitors, like Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, and Yogendra Yadav, who had objected to giving AAP tickets to dubious persons, against whom there were serious charges of corruption.

Satyender Kumar Jain

Kejriwal also removed the upright retired Admiral Ramdas from the post of internal Lokpal, and appointed his henchmen in his place. Thus, he acquired dictatorial power within AAP. He then gave high posts in AAP to ‘chamchas’ i.e. people loyal to him, like Manish Sisodia (elevated to deputy chief minister of Delhi), Satyender Kumar Jain (who was made the health minister), Sanjay Singh (who was made a member of the Rajya Sabha), etc.

All these people face serious charges of corruption and are in jail. In fact, ever since Kejriwal became the chief minister of Delhi in 2013, scandal after scandal was exposed, and these allegations have been rocking his government/party, and many prominent figures have had to resign (though Kejriwal, like an artful dodger, always claimed having no knowledge of their misdeeds).

Ironically, these corruption allegations are against a party that catapulted to power on the slogan of honesty! Huge amounts of money were spent by AAP, obviously on the direction of Kejriwal, on advertisements, hoardings, posters, etc praising AAP, and in particular Kerjriwal.

Kejriwal got two Guptas elected for the Rajya Sabha, allegedly for some quid pro quo. Now with ED (Enforcement Directorate) raids going on at the residences/offices of several prominent AAP functionaries and their secretaries, the chickens have come home to roost for this Natwarlal of today. Kejriwal has not been complying with repeated ED notices to appear before it, on various pretexts. However, time may be up for Natwarlal.

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